200 Word Days

I forget who the novelist is, but when asked how he was able to produce so many books her reply was something along the lines of “just write 200 crappy words a day”. She explained that if you could just do that every day, occasionally you would write 1000 beautiful words. Keep going and eventually you have a beautiful novel, even if those 1000 beautiful words show up occasionally and most days are 200 crappy word days..


There is a good lesson in this. And the lesson is not just for writing, but life overall. Just do, just try, even if it is a mistake. Even if your actions amount the equivalent of a novelist’s 200 crappy words, that is how you go forward and be successful. Actually, scratch that latter part of that. That is how you go forward, which is something way underrated in life. If you are willing to do your equivalent of 200 crappy words, perhaps you are more successful than if you lucked out with 200 beautiful worlds. The only real mistake you can make is not writing 200 words.

It seems obvious I know, but on reflection it is not that apparent in most life experience, at least in the United States. Thinking back to my education, whether it was grade school, high school, or college most of the emphasis was on “being correct” or how far off of “correct” one was. There was very little “try”. The focus was on measuring the success of the outcome. Graduate school was a bit different…but isn’t that a little late to send that message?

On the other hand, there is the “participation” medal society that seems more and more pervasive today. I am not sure if that is part of the Millennial experience or the experience of the kids of Millennials. Or both? Do Millennials now have kids? Whoa. Time flies.

That doesn’t hit the nail on the head either. “Participation Medal” culture is the equivalent of “200 words” and ignoring the “crappy” part of that experience. In that light, it completely misses the point.

So anyway, I think we should embrace 200 Crappy Word Days. Not just in writing, but in everything. What do we have to lose?

Oops, 379 crappy words.



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